The Yule Ball

"The Yule Ball is approaching – a traditional part of the Tri-Wizard Tournament and an opportunity for us to socialize with our foreign guests. Now, the ball will be open only to fourth years and above – although you may invite a younger student if you wish -"

"Dress robes will be worn," Professor McGonagall continued,"and the ball will start at eight o'clock on Christmas Day, finishing at midnight in the Great Hall."

"Potter, the champions and their partners-"

"What partners?" said Harry.

Professor McGonagall looked suspiciously at him, as though she thought he was trying to be funny.

"Your partners for the Yule Ball, Potter," she said coldly. "Your dance partners."

Harry's insides seemed to curl up and shrivel.

"Dance partners?" He felt himself going red. "I don't dance," he said quickly.

"Oh yes, you do," said Professor McGonagall irritably. "That's what I'm telling you. Traditionally, the champions and their partners open the ball."

"Harry had a sudden mental image of himself in a top hat and tails, accompanied by a girl in the sort of frilly dress Aunt Petunia always wore to Uncle Vernon's work parties.

"I'm not dancing," he said.

"It is traditional," said Professor McGonagall firmly. "You are a Hogwarts champion, and you will do what is expected of you as a representative of the school. So make sure you get yourself a partner, Potter."

"But – I don't -"

"You heard me, Potter." said Professor McGonagall in a very final sort of way.

Harry made his way back to the Gryffindor common room. Who could he ask to be his partner to the ball that wouldn't make him feel like a total idiot? Who could he take that he was comfortable enough with so he wouldn't feel totally embarrassed?

Only one person came to mind. Only one person he felt comfortable enough with to brave going out there and dancing with so that he wouldn't feel totally embarrassed.


Sure she was Ron's younger sister, but she had become his friend, she had stood by him when almost everyone had thought he had entered the tournament, he liked her and he was comfortable around her. Now all he had to do was find a way to ask her.

Harry entered through the portrait hole and scanned the room. Ron and Hermione were over by the fire. They glanced up at him and tried to wave him over. But Harry continued to look around. He spotted Ginny in the back corner at a table engrossed in homework. Steeling himself he made his way over and sat down across from her.

Harry felt butterflies dancing in his stomach. He was super nervous. "Um, hi Ginny," he started.

Ginny glanced up at him and blushed slightly. "Oh, hi Harry," she replied.

Harry gazed into her wonderful brown eyes and almost got lost. He had to look down quickly before he lost the ability to speak. "Um Ginny," he began again. "I don't know if you've heard yet but there is going to be a Yule Ball this year as part of the tournament." Glancing back up he looked at Ginny.

It was Ginny's turn to drop her eyes. "Yeah, I heard," she said a bit sadly. "Being a third year I don't think I'll be attending though. Who'd want to take me?"

Harry's voice stuck in his throat momentarily, "I... I would G... Ginny," Harry stuttered.

Ginny looked up in disbelief. She blinked several times very fast like she couldn't believe her ears.

Harry thinking he hadn't made himself clear added "Look Ginny, we've become pretty good friends and I'd really like to take you to the Ball. Would you do me the honor of accompanying me to the Ball?

Ginny still had a stunned look on her face. Her mouth open and closed a couple of times. Finally she took a big gulp and said quietly "I'd love to, Harry." Ginny blinked several more times before she suddenly stood up and headed up to her dorm, leaving all her things on the table.

Harry watched her go, a confused look on his face. Of all the reactions he expected what he just witnessed was not one of them.

Hermione came over and saw the confused look on Harry's face. "What's up Harry?"

Harry stared at the stairs where Ginny had disappeared for several moments before turning to Hermione. "Ginny," was his simple reply.

It was Hermione's turn to look confused. "Why, what happened?"

Harry looked sheepishly at the floor before looking back to Hermione. "Ah, well, I, uh, asked Ginny to the Ball."

"And?" pressed Hermione.

"Well she said yes, but then she just left. I mean she hardly reacted at all. She just, um left looking, well like she'd been stupefied or something. She even left all her stuff here on the table."

Hermione gave Harry a knowing look. "Relax Harry, I think every thing's going to be fine. Why don't you gather up Ginny's stuff while I go up and check on her."

"OK." said Harry. "Just make sure to let me know how she is."

Hermione left to go check on Ginny. She went up to the third year girl's dorm and knocked softly on the door. Getting no response she slowly opened the door and saw Ginny sitting on the edge of her bed. Ginny was just staring off into space. "Ginny?" Hermione called out softly.

She got no response. Concerned, Hermione started over to where Ginny sat. Calling her name several times as she crossed the room. Still no response. Hermione reached Ginny and sat down next to her. Taking Ginny's hand in hers she called Ginny's name one last time.

Ginny's blank face slowly changed, the corners of her mouth started to curl up and a huge smile enveloped her face. Turning suddenly to Hermione, smiling like an idiot she grabbed Hermione in a huge hug. "Pinch me, Hermione," she whispered, "I want to make sure it's not a dream." Ginny paused for a moment, "He asked me to the Ball! Me! Little Ginny Weasley. He asked me!"

Hermione squealed in delight. "Oh Ginny that's wonderful!"

Ginny released Hermione and flopped back on the bed still smiling, her blazing red hair fanning out and framing her head. "I know Hermione, Isn't it great? Me, going to the Ball, with Harry!" like she couldn't believe it.

Hermione grinned at Ginny. "I'm so happy for you Ginny. I know you've waited for this for a long time. I just hope everything works out for you."

"Me too Hermione."

"Though you know, you did leave an awful confused Harry down in the common room."

"What?" asked Ginny.

Hermione chuckled as she patted Ginny's arm. "You left Harry sitting down at the table where you were working. He had a very confused look on his face."

Ginny got a panicked look in her eyes as she bolted back to a sitting position. "I think I did, I mean, I think I said it out loud that I'd go with him. Didn't he say?"

"Relax Ginny, Yes he said you agreed to go to the Ball with him. But you did just leave him sitting there with all you homework and stuff. He was concerned because you didn't react at all, just got up and came up here."

"Oh God Hermione, you don't think that he thinks I don't really want to go with him, do you?" asked Ginny.

Hermione smiled at Ginny, "No, I think you just have him wondering what's going on. Why don't you go down and let him know how happy you are that he asked you to the Ball?"

Ginny stood up and ran to the door, turning back to Hermione she said "That's a great idea. Thanks Hermione." With that she hurried out and back down to the common room.

Harry was just finishing putting Ginny's things into her bag when he heard someone come up behind him. Suddenly he was enveloped from behind in a great big hug. As the person relaxed their grip Harry spun around to see who it was. Looking down all he saw was a fiery mane of red hair as the person wrapped him into another bear hug. "Ginny?" he asked.

"Oh Harry! I'm sorry I left so suddenly. I just couldn't believe that you'd asked me to the Ball!" was Ginny's excited reply. "I didn't expect it. You surprised me when you asked me. I didn't believe it at all." Ginny paused for a moment. "I'm babbling aren't I?" she said somewhat embarrassed.

Harry took Ginny back into a hug. "It's OK Ginny, I'm just glad you said yes! You've made me very happy."

"I'm glad Harry, really. I'm still shocked you asked me, plain little Ginny."

"Harry placed a finger under Ginny's chin and tilted her head up so he could look her directly in the eyes. He said softly "Ginny, there is nothing plain about you, to me. You've been a stalwart friend supporting me in this tournament. You and Hermione are the only ones who believed me all along. And I've grown closer to you all this year. I'm lucky to have you by my side."

Ginny blushed slightly and dropped her gaze. "Harry, I glad we've grown closer too. I'm so happy you asked me to the Ball. Thank you."

"No Ginny, thank you!" and with that Harry took Ginny into another huge hug.

Ginny sighed and snuggled into Harry's chest. Content at last to being held in Harry's arms. Ginny gently broke free of Harry after several moments. "Thanks for packing my things up Harry. I'd better get up to bed now."

Harry held onto Ginny for one more moment. Looking deep into her eyes, he leaned down and gave Ginny a quick kiss. "No problem Gin. Good night."

Ginny again couldn't believe what had just happened. Harry had kissed her. She could feel where his lips had touched hers. The smile she had before crept back onto her face. "Good night Harry, see you in the morning."

Harry handed Ginny her bag and felt her hand linger for a second as she took it. Smiling at Harry she slowly made her way back up to her room. She paused at the top step and looked back down to see Harry still standing at the bottom watching her closely with a huge smile on his face. Ginny smiled back at him, gave a little wave and went into her room.

Hermione sat waiting for her on her bed. "So how did it go Ginny?"

Ginny virtually floated across to where Hermione waited. A dreamy smile plastered on her face. As she reached the bed she pirouetted around and flopped down on her back next to Hermione.

Hermione chuckled looking at the smile on Ginny's face. "I take it went well?"

Ginny smiled even wider. "Better than well Hermione." Blushing slightly she added in a whisper "He kissed me, Hermione, actually kissed me!" Ginny glanced over at Hermione "I think he really likes me Hermione." Ginny sighed deeply, "I feel like I'm dreaming." Ginny closed her eyes and took another deep breath and let it out slowly. "If this is a dream, I don't want to wake up," she whispered.

Hermione smiled down at Ginny. Leaning down she gave Ginny a quick hug. "It's not a dream Ginny. Trust me, Harry really likes you. You finally started acting like yourself around him. You became a close friend when everyone else thought he lied about entering the Tri-wizard Tournament. He's finally seeing you for yourself. I'm so happy for you."

The next morning Ginny found Harry sitting in the common room staring morosely into the fire. She came and sat down next to him. "What's wrong Harry?" she asked.

"Oh Ginny, what am I going to do?" he asked forlornly.

"About what, Harry? Come on, tell me. I can't help if you don't let me know what's wrong."

"You're going to laugh at me." he said dejectedly.

Ginny leaned over and gave Harry a hug. "Harry," she said softly, "you know me better than that."

"You're right Ginny," he sighed. "It's just that we have to help open the Ball and I don't know how to dance." Dropping his head into his hands, "Stupid, huh."

Ginny just smiled at him. "It'll be OK Harry."

Harry jerked his head up towards Ginny. "What?" he began.

Ginny silenced him by placing a finger on his lips. "Harry, I can teach you."

"Really?" he asked incredulously.

Ginny chuckled at him. "Yes Harry. Now let's go and have some breakfast and then we'll go someplace so that we can begin. OK?"

"That's great Gin." he said happily as he took Ginny into a huge hug. Grabbing her hand he yanked her to her feet and pulled her towards the portrait hole.

Ginny laughed as she followed Harry. Once outside in the corridor she pulled back on Harry causing him to stop in his tracks. "Slow down Harry," she said gently. "Today being Sunday, we have all day." Ginny then looped her arm through Harry's and began walking down to the Great Hall with him.

After breakfast Ginny led Harry to an empty classroom. There was a large old Victrola in the corner. Taking Harry by the hand she led him to the center of the room.

Looking Harry right in the eye she said "Alright Harry, Lesson one. Right hand on my waist, left hand takes my right, hold it up here about shoulder height. OK, starting with your left foot, one two three, one two three." Ginny had Harry practice for several minutes. Then taking her wand she flicked it at the Victrola and started the music. "Begin again Harry, in time with the music."

Harry found Ginny to be a kind and patient teacher. After several hours Harry was beginning to feel comfortable with the dance.

And so it went, almost every evening found Harry and Ginny practicing in the deserted classroom. Ginny taught Harry all the traditional wizard dances along with traditional muggle waltzes. Even when classes stopped for the Christmas break Harry and Ginny met to continue practicing. Harry couldn't remember ever having so much fun or enjoying someone's company so much.

It was two days before Christmas and Harry was sitting in front of the fire in the Gryffindor common room. It was mid-afternoon and Harry was just wasting time until Ginny would meet him to go down to dinner together. Nearby Hermione was curled up in a chair reading a book.

Sudden a scream rent the calm. It had come from the direction of the girls dorms. Harry stood up with a start, looking alarmed. Hermione looked up from her book and caught Harry's eye.

Harry looked slightly panicked. "That sounded like Ginny," he said shakily.

Hermione closed her book and stood up."I'll go check, OK?"

"OK, Hermione, just let me know what's going on." Harry said as he sat back down, still looking very concerned.

Hermione hurried up to the girls dorm and checked in Ginny's room. Ginny was collapsed onto the floor holding the tattered remains of her dress robes. She was sobbing uncontrollably. Hermione rushed over and dropped down next to her and put an arm around her shoulders. "Ginny, what happened?"

Through her sobs Ginny explained "I – I was getting a – a clean jumper from my closet and – and I found this," she said as she held up her mangled robes. "Some – someone has done THIS!" Ginny started crying harder. "Oh Hermione, what am I going to do? How can I go with Harry to the Ball when I don't have any dress robes?"

Hermione helped Ginny up off the floor and over to her bed. Sitting her down she looked at Ginny sympathetically. "I don't know Ginny, but we'll work something out."

Ginny buried her face into the remains of her robes. "I know they were second hand and slightly out of date but they were all I had. How can I tell Harry that I won't be able to go to the Ball?" she wailed.

Hermione had no ideas for Ginny. Shaking her head she said softly "Wait here Ginny. I'll be right back, OK?"

Ginny kept her face buried in the robes and just nodded her head.

Hermione left her sitting there and headed back down to see Harry. As she approached him he stood up and met her halfway across the floor. "What's happened Hermione? Is Ginny OK?"

Hermione smiled ruefully. "Physically fine but someone has destroyed her dress robes and she is heartbroken. She doesn't see how she'll be able to go to the Ball now."

Harry got a cold determined look in his eyes. "Look Hermione, you have to get Ginny down here. I don't care what it takes but get her down here anyway you can, OK?" When Hermione nodded her head Harry took off running toward his dorm.

Shaking her head and wondering what Harry was up to Hermione headed back up to get Ginny down to Harry. Hermione found Ginny right where she had left her though she had flopped over on her side and was laying on the bed now, sobbing softly. Reaching out and taking Ginny's hand she gently pulled her to her feet. "Come on Ginny, Harry wants you."

Ginny's eyes teared afresh. "What am I going to tell him Hermione?"

Hermione hugged Ginny and said "I don't know but you have to talk to him Ginny."

Ginny nodded forlornly. "Your right Hermione, best to get it over with."

Hermione led Ginny over to the wash room. "Now why don't you splash some cold water on your face and brush your hair. Then we'll go down and see Harry.

Ginny gave Hermione a quick hug before going and doing what Hermione suggested. Taking one last glimpse into the mirror and noting her red puffy eyes she turned quickly before the tears started anew. Going out and taking Hermione's hand they descended the stairs to the common room.

Harry was pacing furiously waiting for Ginny to come down. Upon seeing her he rushed over and grabbed her hand and pulled her toward the portrait hole almost at a run.

The look of misery vanished from Ginny's face as a look of total surprise replaced it. "Harry, what..." she started to say.

Harry cut her off quickly. "No time to explain Ginny! Please just trust me, OK?"

Totally bewildered Ginny managed to stutter out "O-OK Harry."

Once outside the portrait hole and making sure they were alone Harry whipped out his invisibility cloak and covered both of them. Harry led Ginny down to the statue of the one eyed witch, tapped her hump with his wand and whispered "Dissendium," and led Ginny into the secret passage that led to Honeydukes and Hogsmeade. Once inside he removed the invisibility cloak and smiled at Ginny.

Ginny was totally bewildered at this point, so much so she had forgotten how miserable she had been because of her robes. "Harry, where are we going?"

Harry stopped and pulled Ginny into another quick kiss taking Ginny by surprise. "Just trust me Gin, OK?"

Ginny could only nod at Harry. This was the second time he had kissed her when she was unaware. Neither time did she have time to kiss him back. Though pleased that Harry had kissed her, she found it somewhat unsatisfying as they had been quick hit and run affairs. She wanted to kiss him back, a good old snogging, one that curled her toes and left her breathless. Like she'd heard and read about and wanted to share with Harry.

Harry quickly led Ginny through the tunnel till they came to a door at the end. Placing the cloak once more over them Harry motioned for Ginny to be quiet. Harry nudged the door open a fraction and peeked to make sure the coast was clear. Harry and Ginny tiptoed up the stairs, through the store and out onto the street. Harry checked and made sure they were alone, he pulled off the cloak and stuffed it into his robes.

Harry grinned at Ginny and taking her hand he led her over to Gladrags. Opening the door for her Harry ushered Ginny inside. Since it was fairly late in the afternoon and not a Hogsmeade day for the school the store was virtually deserted.

The sales clerk came over to the pair "Are you being served?" she asked.

Harry took charge immediately. "No, we aren't."

"How my I help you?" she asked lackadaisically.

Harry was getting annoyed. The sales clerk didn't seem to want to be very helpful.

"We're looking for dress robes for this young lady." Harry stated pushing Ginny slightly forward. Ginny turned with open mouth but Harry shushed her.

The clerk looked at Ginny with a hint of disdain in her eye which further annoyed Harry. "Well," she drawled, "We don't have much left, but back here are the economical robes we have left."

Ginny started to step forward but halted with a jerk when Harry hadn't moved. Harry shook his head and really looked annoyed now. "No," he said emphatically. "That won't do at all." The clerk looked surprised at the young man's reaction. Harry looked up at a mannequin in the front window that was dressed in the most exquisite gown Ginny had ever seen. The upper part was a wonderful emerald green and it faded down through many shades till it was a soft green at the bottom. It also had gold and silver threads that ran top to bottom that caught the light as the cloth moved, giving it a shimmering, flashing quality that was truly magical. "I think we'd like to see this one!"

The clerk looked at Harry patronizingly, "That is a Paris one of a kind gown, very expensive." she said in a manner that indicated that she thought it was well out of Harry's price range.

Harry was beyond annoyed now. Scowling he said "Look if you won't help us may we see the manager?"

The clerk was quite taken aback. Having an unhappy customer ask to see the manager was not a good thing. Knowing that Christmas bonuses were still to be handed out she didn't want to give the manager any reason to be unhappy with her. Putting a big smile on her face she said "That won't be necessary sir. Let me get that down for the young lady and we'll have her try it on in the back."

Harry nodded and gave her a curt "OK."

In short order Ginny was in the dressing area being fitted with the gown while Harry waited not so patiently. In the back Ginny was in heaven. The gown was made of real silk with threads of real gold and silver woven in. It took only minor adjustments to make it fit Ginny perfectly. Ginny twirled in front of the mirror and smiled a huge smile. She never felt better in a dress before.

Ginny's smile died on her face, she couldn't see how she could afford such a gown. The clerk looked on in awe. The gown seemed made especially for the young witch before her. "You look beautiful in that gown. You'll be the envy of every girl at the Ball in it."

Ginny blushed slightly "Thank you," she whispered. Ginny removed the gown with the clerks help. She dressed back into the clothes she had worn in and went out to Harry. The clerk then helped Ginny pick out matching shoes, something with a low wide heel, perfect for dancing in.

Harry was smiling widely at her. "Well," he asked her. "How did it look?"

Ginny's eyes glistened with tears. "Oh Harry," she whispered, "It was so beautiful. But how can I afford it?"

"Ginny," Harry said taking Ginny into a hug. "Don't worry about it, OK? Just consider it an early Christmas gift."

"But Harry," Ginny began in protest.

Harry silenced her with another hit and run kiss. "Please Ginny, let me do this."

Ginny stared up into Harry's eyes. Her eyes glistening with the tears of joy she was feeling, Ginny could only nod before she took him in a huge hug.

The clerk came out with the gown boxed up and took it to the checkout counter. Looking at Harry still a little skeptically "How will you be paying for this, sir?"

Harry looked the clerk straight in the eye and said firmly "You can deduct this from my Gringott's account, can't you?"

"Yes sir, no problem. You just need to sign this receipt," handing Harry a quill. She then waved her wand over the signed receipt explaining "Just verifying you have the funds available." With a nod she handed Harry a copy of the receipt and bagged the gown and shoes which she handed to Ginny. With a warm genuine smile, after all she had just made a big commission selling the Paris gown, "Happy Christmas to you both."

Harry and Ginny exited the store. Ginny grasped Harry's arm and pulled him to a stop. "Harry, how much did this gown cost you?"

Harry just shrugged his shoulders. "I actually don't know Ginny. I didn't look at the price."

Ginny's jaw dropped open. "Harry how could you buy me a gown without looking at the price?" she said shocked.

Harry took Ginny by her shoulders and looked he straight in the eye. "Ginny, it really doesn't matter to me, you're worth every Galleon that it cost, no matter what it was. Nothing is too good for you."

"But Harry," Ginny began.

Harry silenced her once again with one of his hit and run kisses. Frustrating Ginny to no end. When was she going to get a real, slow long kiss with Harry? She was still to bashful to initiate one herself. But if things didn't change soon...!

As Harry pulled back from the H & R kiss, as Ginny was coming to term them, "Please Gin, don't fight me on this. Please just accept it in the spirit it was given."

Ginny looked deep into Harry's eyes and saw the pleading look he was giving her. "OK Harry," she finally said softly. "Thank you for the most wonderful gift I have ever received."

Harry sighed gratefully. "You're welcome Ginny, I'm glad I am able to do something like this for someone who means a lot to me," as he led Ginny back to Honeydukes.

Ginny looked at Harry with a slightly befuddled look on her face. "There he goes again," she thought. Saying things in an ambiguous manner, never coming out and saying something Ginny couldn't interpret several different ways. "Godric I want to scream," she thought further, "Why do relationships have to be so bloody difficult?"

Harry took her inside and picked out some luscious chocolate balls filled with raspberry ganache. He popped one into Ginny's mouth and she let out a deep "UMMMM! That is so good, it's almost sinful."

Harry paid for their chocolates and led her back into a corner. Checking to make sure they were unobserved he pulled out his cloak and pulled it over their heads. Harry led Ginny back down and into the secret passage back to Hogwarts. Harry didn't remove the cloak till they were back in the common room. Pulling the cloak off them Harry took Ginny into a hug. "I had a great time this afternoon," he said looking into Ginny's eyes. Why don't you take that up to your room and lock it in your trunk and we can head down to dinner.

Ginny smiled up at Harry. "OK, Harry, I'll make sure no one can get to it. See you in a moment. When Ginny went up to her dorm Harry pulled put the receipt and looked at it. A little over 2500 Galleons. Paris originals certainly didn't come cheap. Harry just chuckled as he looked at it.

Hermione came over and glanced over Harry's shoulder. "2500 Galleons!" she yelled.

Harry shushed her quickly as people all over the common room were staring at them. "Quiet Hermione," Harry scolded.

"But Harry," she whispered "How could you spend that much on Ginny?"

Harry just shrugged his shoulders. "It's done Hermione, just leave it. And don't say anything to Ginny. Please, just leave it go."

Hermione stared at Harry for a moment and then sighed. "OK Harry, My lips are sealed. But tell me Harry, why did you do this?"

Harry stared down at the floor and scuffed the rug with the toe of his shoe. "I don't want anything to wreck this for us Hermione. I want everything to go perfect, OK?"

Hermione gave Harry a piercing look and patted him on the arm. "OK Harry, I understand."

Harry blushed slightly and glanced at Hermione. He paused for a moment and gave her a nod. "Thanks Hermione."

Just then Ginny came down the steps and came and took Harry's arm. "Ready for Dinner?" she asked.

Harry smiled at her while he surreptitiously put the receipt in his pocket. "Yeah lets get going. See ya Hermione."

Harry woke up the next morning, Christmas Eve. Harry lay there pondering his gifts for Ginny. Sure he had told her the gown was an early Christmas gift but he had only said that to make her accept the gown. Under the tree she would only find some more of the chocolate and raspberry truffle balls and a new eagle feather quill. Not nearly enough as far as he was concerned.

Harry stared at the ceiling trying to come up with something he could add to the presents he was giving her. His mind drifted back to seeing the gown as it was on the mannequin. Suddenly he remembered a pendant necklace that he had that was his mother's. It was a teardrop diamond surrounded by rubies and emeralds. Harry could picture it on Ginny while she was wearing the gown. He knew it'd be perfect. The rubies and emeralds would look stunning with Ginny's hair. Harry smiled to himself. This Christmas would be the best ever.

Harry jumped up and went to his trunk. He had to dig down deep into it to find the small wooden box that held several pieces of his mother's jewelry. Opening it up he took out the small velvet box that held the necklace. He cracked open the velvet box and stared at the necklace. The light dancing off the gems, reminded Harry of the way the light danced in Ginny's eyes.

Harry quickly grabbed a scrap of wrapping paper and wrapped the necklace for Ginny. He felt a warmness fill him up. He was so happy he could hardly contain himself. He jumped up and went to the wash room to get ready for the day. Face washed, teeth brushed he hurriedly got dressed and went down to the common room.

Harry tried to sit in front of the fire but he was too excited to sit for any length of time. He kept finding himself pacing back and forth glancing up the steps to the girls dorm looking for Ginny. Every time he heard some one start to come down he would start to smile till he saw it wasn't Ginny. Then the smile would leave his face and he would begin pacing again.

Finally Ginny descended the stairs and ran over to Harry. "Ready for breakfast?" she asked.

Harry stared into Ginny's eyes and Ginny thought to herself "Oh, here it comes and this time I'm going to be ready, no more H & R kisses for me." But Harry just hugged her and took her hand, leading her to the portrait hole.

A thoroughly frustrated Ginny sighed to herself and silently cursed the fates. One day she'd get her kiss that she so desperately wanted. Where she and Harry spent minutes or maybe even hours wrapped in each others arms and thoroughly enjoyed sharing kisses and intimate moments. She could only dream for now.

Harry and Ginny spent a wonderful, thoroughly delightful day together. After breakfast they spent some time in the common room with Hermione, Ron and the twins playing exploding snap. Then after lunch she and Harry stole away for one last practice session of dancing. Harry and Ginny floated effortlessly across the floor. Ginny was so proud of the progress Harry had made. She knew he'd do wonderfully.

Finally the day was done and Harry and Ginny spent a few quiet moments together in the common room after most the others had gone to bed. Harry and Ginny were seated on the couch in front of the fire. Harry had Ginny tucked close in to his side with her head resting on his shoulder. They were both staring into the fire when Harry said softly "A Knut for your thoughts."

Ginny glanced up into Harry's smiling face. She smiled back, "I'm just thinking about how happy I am."

"Me too." Harry replied as he leaned down and kissed Ginny tenderly on the top of her head.

It wasn't the "Kiss" Ginny was looking for but it spoke volumes to her. Harry poured every emotion he was feeling towards Ginny into that kiss and she felt it. For the first time she felt a tingle from the top of her head all the way down to her toes. "Merlin," she thought. "If he can cause a feeling like that with just a kiss to the top of my head, wonder what a real kiss on my lips will be like?"

Harry stood up and helped Ginny to stand. He pulled her into his side with his arm around her waist. Ginny kept her head tucked into Harry's shoulder as they walked over to the stairs to the girls dorms. Harry spun Ginny in front of him and looked deeply into her eyes. Ginny could see a blazing look and his eyes had changed to a deeper shade of emerald that she had ever seen before. Ginny could see love and desire in Harry's eyes as they bored straight into her soul it seemed.

Harry whispered "Goodnight Ginny, sleep well."

Ginny's voice caught in her throat before she managed to get out a soft "Goodnight Harry," loaded with emotion.

Harry took his right hand and reached up and drug it along Ginny's cheek. It was a soft and tender action that left Ginny trembling. She hoped and expected Harry to kiss her goodnight. Unfortunately Harry left her frustrated and disappointed. Harry stepped back and dropped his eyes to the ground. She could see Harry struggling with his emotions.

Ginny sighed to herself and then smiled at Harry. She knew he was not used to showing love and affection. She would not push him, better to let Harry get there on his own. Ginny just hoped it wouldn't kill her in the meantime.

Ginny ascended the stairs to her dorm, she paused and looked back at Harry standing at the bottom of the stairs staring back at her, the love still evident in his eyes. Ginny turned and entered her room.

Harry watched Ginny enter her room and then he turned and started up to his, kicking himself mentally with every step he took. "You idiot." he thought. "Why didn't you just kiss her? You could tell she was looking for one, why didn't you just do it? You've done it before, why not tonight?"

Harry sighed as he got into bed. "It's because every time before she wasn't expecting it or ready for it. I didn't risk failing to live up to her expectations." Harry turned and pounded his hand into his pillow. Turning on his side he plopped his head down and tried to get comfortable. "What a prat! I'll be surprised if Ginny talks to me ever again."

The day of the Ball finally dawned, Christmas morning. Harry got up excited, in the light of the new day he was much more optimistic about Ginny than he was last night.

Getting up and putting on his dressing gown Harry grabbed a pillow and threw it at Ron. Ron raised his head sleepily. "Come on Ron! Presents!" Harry shouted.

Ron reluctantly sat up and threw the pillow back at Harry. "Alright then, give me a minute," he said as he stretched and yawned. Slowly he stood and put on his dressing gown.

Together they made their way down to the common room where the tree was set up. Ginny and Hermione soon joined them. The all wished each other Happy Christmas and then Ginny began to parcel out presents to everyone.

Of course they all got new Weasley jumpers and loads of Honeydukes' sweets. Ginny loved the new Eagle quill that Harry had given her along with the sinful chocolate / raspberry truffle balls, which she flatly refused to share with either Hermione or Ron. When neither was looking she quickly popped one into Harry's mouth which he enjoyed immensely.

When every one was done opening gifts Hermione and Ron gathered up their presents and left to get dressed for breakfast. Harry surreptitiously motioned Ginny to remain behind.

Ginny was smiling contently. "What's up Harry?" she said brightly.

Harry blushed slightly as he reached into his pocket and pulled out his last present for Ginny. "I, um, have one more present for you Ginny," he said shyly as he gave her the small box.

Ginny had a stunned look on her face. "Harry you didn't have to get me anything else. You got me the dress robes!"

Harry looked up into her eyes and said softly "Think of this as one more accessory to go with the dress."

Ginny carefully unwrapped the small present and gave Harry a puzzled look as she noticed the old somewhat faded jewelers box. "Harry? What have you gotten me?"

"Open it," he whispered back at her.

Ginny opened the box and froze with her mouth wide open. She just stared at it for several moments and then mouth still open looked up into Harry's eyes.

When she didn't say anything Harry prompted "Do you like it?"

Ginny's voice finally returned to her, at Harry's prompt she spoke in a low awed voice. "Like it Harry, how could I not like it. It's beautiful! But Harry, I can't accept it. You've given me too much already."

"No Ginny, I thought about it really hard last night. I want you to accept it and wear it to the Ball tonight. Please Ginny, it will mean a lot to me." Harry reached out with his right hand like he did the previous night and lightly stroked down Ginny's cheek. "Please Ginny, it was my mother's and I want you to have it and I hope you'll wear it tonight."

Ginny was totally flabbergasted. "Alright Harry. Thank you," she said softly as she leaned into Harry's hand. "How can I say no to such a gift." Ginny chuckled softly "You're spoiling me, you know."

Harry just smiled back at her and said tenderly, "It's great to have someone to spoil."

Ginny was still staring at the necklace when Harry leaned in and gave her one of his patented H & R kisses and a big hug. "One of these days I'm going to see that coming and when I do I'm not going to let him get away with one of those quick pecks," Ginny thought.

Harry stood and put out his hand to help Ginny up. They gathered their presents and went to get changed for breakfast. Within a short time Hermione, Ron, the twins, Harry and Ginny were all back wearing their new Weasley jumpers and ready to go to breakfast.

After breakfast they went back to the common room and played exploding snap, wizards chess and other games till it was time for lunch.

After a light lunch Harry and Ginny spent most of the afternoon playing outside in the snow with their friends. At 4pm Ginny gave Harry a quick hug and left to get ready. They would be meeting in the Common room about 6:30 before heading down to the Great Hall for the Ball which would start at 7:00pm.

Harry changed into his dress robes and spent ten minutes trying to get his hair to lay flat before giving up and heading down to the common room to wait for Ginny.

Ron, Seamus, Dean and Neville were all waiting for their dates too. Ron ended up asking Parvati, Seamus was going with Lavender, Dean was taking Natalie McDonald and Neville would be leaving with them to meet his date Luna Lovegood in the Entrance Hall, where all people who were taking members of other houses were to meet.

No one knew who Hermione was going with, or that was to say none of the boys did. Harry was sure that Ginny knew but she refused to say. The twins had already met their dates and headed out. Fred was taking Angelina and George was taking Alicia both teammates from the Gryffindor Quiditch team.

Natalie, Parvati and Lavender all came down and were greeted by their respective dates. Ron turned to Harry "Want us to wait?" he asked.

Harry considered for a moment before answering "No, you guys go on ahead, we'll meet you down there."

The others all left and Harry was just about the only one left in the common room besides the people who weren't going to the Ball. Suddenly Harry heard the door above him open and someone stepped out. There stood Ginny, she looked unbelievably beautiful. Her gown shimmered and sparkled in the light. The gown had been tailored to fit Ginny magnificently. It showed off her budding femininity to perfection, her growing curves were highlighted subtlety.

Ginny had done a couple of long curls on either side of her head, the rest was left long and straight with two pieces crossed over the bulk of her hair in the back. She had understated makeup applied to her eyes, lips and with just a touch of blush on her cheeks. She had never looked more beautiful to Harry. In fact he had never seen a more beautiful woman in his life. She literally took his breath away.

Harry noticed she was wearing the necklace he had given her as she approached the bottom of the steps. Harry reached out and took her hand. "You look…" Harry couldn't find the right word. Harry shook his head slightly. "Sorry Ginny, words fail me. I've never seen anyone look so beautiful in my whole life!"

Ginny blushed at Harry's words. "Stop it Harry, you know I'm not that beautiful."

"Sorry to disagree with you Gin, but you're wrong. And you have got to stop putting yourself down. You're gorgeous and I can see it."

Ginny looked at Harry appraisingly, "OK, I'll stop if you will."

Harry stared into her eyes for a moment before smiling and nodding, saying "OK Gin, it's a deal. No more self put downs from either of us."

Ginny smiled back at Harry, "Deal! Now let's get down to the Ball. We can't have one of the champions late now can we."

Harry offered his arm to Ginny and led her out of the portrait hole saying, "Especially when he has the most beautiful woman in the whole school as his date."

Ginny's laugh washed over him like he had drank a shot of firewhiskey. He felt his heart swell with joy. He couldn't believe anyone could be so happy.

When Harry and Ginny arrived at the Great Hall they were pulled aside by Professor McGonagall. They were led to the small antechamber where the first years waited before the sorting ceremony. Cedric was there with Cho Chang and Fleur was there with her date Roger Davies. The only one missing was Victor and his date.

As they waited Harry began to get more and more nervous. Sure he had practiced dancing with Ginny but there hadn't been hundreds of people standing around watching. Ginny noticed Harry's nervousness and patted him gently on the arm. Smiling at him she said, "Relax Harry, everything will be OK."

Harry swallowed visibly, "Promise?" he asked.

"Promise," She replied reassuringly.

Just then Victor Krum arrived with his date on his arm. Harry was surprised when Ginny turned, smiled and waved at the girl. Harry's gaze was then drawn to see who it was. To his surprise it was Hermione. She caught Harry's eye and gave him a big grin as she waved. Harry thought she looked stunning, but still not as beautiful as Ginny.

Just then the door to the hall swung open and Professor McGonagall came in to form them into a line. Fleur and Roger, Victor and Hermione, Cedric and Cho and Harry and Ginny bringing up the rear. Harry heard the band play a fanfare followed by some kind of march. McGonagall started the couples filing in, spacing them out by five or six paces between pairs.

Harry's stomach was in knots he was so nervous. He relaxed considerably when he noticed they were being directed to the head table. Harry took in a huge breath and let it out. At least they weren't going to dance right away.

Once they were all seated Harry was confused about how they were going to be fed till he noticed Dumbledore pick up the card on his plate and read off his choices from the menu printed on it. Everyone at the table follow suit and they were soon enjoying the magnificent meal.

All too soon to Harry's thought, the meal came to an end. Harry's nervousness returned as all the champions and their dates filed out onto the dance floor. Harry took Ginny's waist and hand. She could tell he was nervous so she looked him in the eyes and whispered "It's just you and me Harry, just you and me."

Harry gazed into Ginny's eyes and saw all the love and support she was feeling for him. He felt a sense of calm settle over him and he smiled at Ginny. "Thanks Gin," he whispered back.

The next thing he knew the music started and he started dancing with Ginny, just like they had practiced for oh so many hours. All awareness of the others around him faded. He was dimly aware of the music but his main focus was Ginny. They had locked eyes and he just danced. It seemed they were floating in the clouds, their movements were effortless, they moved and twirled across the floor, Harry was actually disappointed when the music stopped.

They were in the middle of the floor when the music stopped, Harry still had his eyes locked onto Ginny's when he became aware of applause surrounding them. Harry looked up and was surprised to see everyone else lined up around the floor and watching the two of them. Harry bowed to Ginny, took her hand and turn to the crowd. He and Ginny then bowed to them.

With that the music started again and he took Ginny back in his arms and led her off into the next dance. They danced for the next half dozen dances till a newer, faster dance number started. Ginny took his arm and said with a smile "Let's take a break and get something to drink."

Ginny and Harry danced every traditional dance played whether wizard or muggle and they only improved from their first dance. Whenever a fast modern tune was played they sat down at the side and rested. During these breaks at different times several wizards came up and asked Ginny if they could dance with her. Ginny politely declined all offers. Harry was surprised when a couple of witches came and asked him to dance. He too politely declined, Ginny was the only one for him.

All too soon for Harry the band announced the last dance. It was a traditional waltz. Harry stood and offered his hand to Ginny who took it willingly with a huge smile on her face. As soon as the music started Harry and Ginny floated across the floor. Once again Harry locked eyes with Ginny and became oblivious to those around him. Harry pulled Ginny in closer as they twirled and moved as one. Harry heard the last strains of the song fade away.

Standing still once again in the middle of the dance floor Harry's eyes blazed like green fire. He leaned down toward Ginny and whispered so only she could hear, Ginevra Weasley, I love you." With that he slowly pressed his lips to hers and held her in a deep loving kiss. Ginny felt her knees go weak, her insides seemed to turn into a puddle of goo and her brain turned into mush. Every fiber of her being tingled like she had been hit with an electrical shock. She was sure that if Harry wasn't holding her tightly she would have fallen to the floor.

After what seemed like an eternity to Ginny, Harry broke the kiss. Ginny sighed contently and hugged Harry tightly. Partly to convey the love she was feeling for him and partly to keep from falling. Gathering herself Ginny leaned back to look into Harry's eyes and whispered, "I love you too Harry."

Harry smiled as he led Ginny from the dance floor and toward the doors to the Entrance Hall. As they came to the door Professor McGonagall came up to Harry and said with a smile on her face, "I thought you said you didn't dance Mister Potter?"

Harry looked from the Professor to Ginny and with a huge smile said "I had a great teacher, Professor."

Still smiling the Professor replied with a laugh "I can see you did. Good evening, Mister Potter, Miss Weasley."

Harry and Ginny made their way back to the Gryffindor common room. Harry took Ginny back into his arms and gave her another spine tingling kiss. "I don't want this night to end."

For the first time Ginny instigated a kiss. "Neither do I," she said softly in response.

Harry looked deep into Ginny's eyes "Meet me back here in ten minutes," he said huskily.

Ginny smiled back at him, "Better make that fifteen," she whispered back.

Harry smiled at Ginny, "OK, love. Fifteen minutes, I'll be waiting."

Harry did make it back down in just under ten minutes and he sat in front of the fire waiting patiently for Ginny's return. He smiled as he replayed the evening over in his mind. He flopped back in the couch, closing his eyes, the smile growing larger as the joy and happiness he felt filled him to overflowing.

He suddenly felt someone run their fingers gently through his fringe. It trailed down his cheek to his chin before making it's way back up to run through his hair again. Harry opened his eyes and found Ginny standing behind the couch gently caressing his hair, smiling down at him. "Hi gorgeous," he said softly.

"Hi yourself," was her quiet reply. Ginny made her way around to the front of the couch where Harry pulled her down into his lap. Placing one hand behind her head, taking a handful of her luxurious hair in his hand. The other dropped down onto her back supporting her and pulling her tighter into his grasp.

Harry's hand pulled Ginny's head into him and he kissed Ginny again, this time starting with a deep sensuous kiss that had Ginny moaning in her throat. Harry then probed forward with his tongue seeking entrance into Ginny's mouth, which she gladly granted. Their tongues danced and twirled firing their passion to higher and higher levels.

Ginny's head spun, she felt faint and breathless. She broke the kiss with a deep moan. "Sweet Merlin Harry, what are you trying to do to me?" she whispered awash with emotion as she snuggled her head into Harry's shoulder. Ginny felt her heart beating a mile a minute.

Harry brought his hand from behind her head and swept it through her hair, brushing it from her face and tucking it behind her ear. "I'm just trying to show you how much I love you Ginny."

Ginny took a big breath and let it out slowly trying to slow her racing heart. "Well it's working, trust me," she said breathless.

Harry continued to stroke Ginny's hair while whispering sweet little things in her ear. Slowly Ginny's heart returned to normal and the days events caught up with her. Sleepily she brought her outside hand and draped it on Harry's shoulder while she snuggled closer into Harry's chest. As sleep claimed her she whispered "I love you Harry."

Harry kissed the top of Ginny's head and took in a huge whiff of Ginny's flowery scent. "I love you too, Ginny," he whispered back as he spun them around and lay down on the couch. He conjured a huge thick comforter and tucked it around them and fell asleep shortly after Ginny.

Ginny awoke to hushed whispers somewhere up behind her. She stirred sleepily and became aware she was resting half on Harry's body. She snuggled down closer into Harry. What she wasn't aware of was that because of the way Harry was crunched down into the pillow, coupled with the way the huge thick comforter was tucked around them and the way her hair was fanned out covering Harry, he was totally invisible to those standing above her.

The whispers became more insistent and Ginny stirred more visibly. She mumbled sleepily "What do you want?"

She heard someone whisper louder "Oh, she's awake."

Ginny mumbled still quite sleepily "I am now, thanks to you."

Ginny became aware of someone leaning in over her and she heard Hermione say softly "Ginny, do you know where Harry is?"

Ginny smiled slightly and decided to get back at Hermione and Ron, who she figured out was the other person present. "Yes," she mumbled. "Now go away, I'm trying to sleep."

"Ginny!" Hermione hissed a bit louder "Where is he?"

Ginny sighed and tried to sound sleepy "What's it to you anyway?"

"Ginny," Hermione said a bit annoyed. "No one knows where he's at. His bed hasn't been slept in and we can't find him!"

Harry was now awake and aware what Ginny was doing. He whispered in her ear so only Ginny could hear "Ginny you little devil you."

Ginny almost lost it at that point but managed to stay under control. "I already told you I know where he's at, so what's the big deal. Now go away so I can get back to sleep." She could tell Harry was also struggling to keep from laughing.

Harry was holding his breath trying to keep from bursting out laughing.

Hermione stood up and said loudly "Ginny, you, you..."

With that Harry lost it. The breath he was holding exploded out of his mouth causing Ginny's hair that covered his face to puff upward. As it settled back down it left a hole with Harry's nose sticking out. He took in another breath and started to giggle uncontrollably. This set Ginny off too. The both of them giggled into each others necks causing more giggles to issue forth.

They heard above them simultaneously Hermione's "Harry!" and Ron's "Ginny!" which made them laugh even harder.

Ginny turned her head so that her hair was no longer covering Harry's face which beamed out at Hermione with Ginny smiling widely too.

Hermione shook her finger admonishingly at the two on the couch. "You two..." she started, but she couldn't keep the merriment out of her voice which caused a renewed round of laughter from Harry and Ginny.

Ron just stared, to shocked to say anything.

Hermione looked knowingly at Harry and Ginny. "You two have anything you wish to say?" she asked.

Harry glanced at Ginny, smiling as he said "What's the matter can't a guy spend some time with his girlfriend if he wants to without being interrupted?"

Ginny gaped at Harry for a moment before grinning at him. It was the first time he had called her his girlfriend.

Hermione shook her head while smiling at the two of them lying on the couch. "OK, but next time if you let someone know where you're at, maybe you won't be interrupted." Hermione glanced at her watch and said "We'll be back in about an hour and a half to go to breakfast.."

Harry pulled Ginny in a little closer and said "OK, see you then." With that Ginny snuggled in to Harry's chest and they drifted back off to sleep as Hermione led Ron away. Harry's last thought as he drifted off to sleep was "This has been the best Christmas ever."

A/N: Just a little bit of fluff that I'm posting un-betaed because I have her tied up with the next chapter of a multi chapter story that I'm working on.

It is inconceivable to me that Ginny would not have reached out to Harry when he ended up in the tournament. I can't believe that JKR left this totally out of the books. I believe Ginny was very under utilized during the whole series. If she was going to end up being with Harry and be his support and equal, to ignore her for most of the series makes no sense other than try to spring her up at the end as a plot device. Doesn't wash well in my opinion.

Disclaimer: As always JKR owns everything Harry Potter. I just borrow it for my own amusement. I receive no compensation other that the reviews you readers deem to leave.